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Custom program developed for Health Science leaders

Health Sciences Leadership Series

A program designed to improve the leadership capabilities and communication skills of Health Sciences faculty members.

Visit the Faculty of Health Sciences website to register.

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Health Sciences faculty members spend years training for their roles as educators, researchers and scholars. In many cases, though, there aren'™t the same opportunities to develop specific skills required for their administrative and managerial duties.

The Office of Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences aims to change that by collaborating with the Human Resources Department on a new management development program. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will launch this September with the first cohort of 30 participants completing six full-day sessions throughout 2014-15.

"This program is modelled after one that myself and a number of other faculty had the opportunity to take several years ago," says Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, Faculty of Health Sciences. "In retrospect, the content has proven to be highly relevant and practical. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development."

Human Resources designed the program specifically for Health Sciences faculty members. The material will cover challenges, situations and conflicts they will encounter in their day-to-day work. Dr. Sanfilippo says participants will gain a deeper understanding of their leadership capabilities, expand their communication skills, enhance their project management skills, and improve their ability to build relationships both within and outside their department.

The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development.

Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences.

With the Health Sciences Leadership Series, Queen's Human Resources Department continues to expand its leadership development programming. The department has offered a similar program for non-academic managers since 2009.

"œWe are excited to partner with the Faculty of Health Sciences to extend this valuable leadership training to their faculty members," says Al Orth, Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources. "We are hopeful that the positive outcomes of this series will result in opportunities to work with other faculties on similar programs in the future."

The series has the added benefit of meeting the accreditation criteria for two professional organizations. It is an accredited group learning activity for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The program also meets the accreditation criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Online registration is now open with the first session slated to take place Sept. 16. More information is available on the Faculty of Health Sciences website or by contacting Shannon Hill, Learning Development Specialist, Human Resources, at ext. 74175.
 

Honorary degrees for spring ceremonies

The presentation of honorary degrees is one of the many traditions of convocation. This spring, seven recipients will be honored during the ceremonies. All recipients were selected by Queen’s community members for their contributions to the local community, Canadian society, or the world.

The honorary degree recipients this year include:

Phil Gold, Doctor of Science DSc

[Phil Gold]
Phil Gold

Ceremony 2: Thursday, May 24 at 2:30 pm

Phil Gold is the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and the Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Oncology at McGill University. He has served as the Inaugural Director of the Goodman Cancer Centre, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at McGill, and Physician-in-Chief at the MGH.

Dr. Gold’s early research led to the discovery and definition of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), and the subsequent CEA blood test. In 2006, the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine was inaugurated at McGill University. Dr. Gold was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010, and also received the Life Time Achievement Award from McGill University and the inaugural McGill University Faculty of Medicine Global Achievement Award in 2011.

Dr. Gold has received national and international recognition throughout his career, including the Gairdner Foundation Annual International Award (1978), Medizinische Hochschule, Germany (1978), the Johann-Georg-Zimmerman Prize for Cancer Research (1978), the Isaak Walton Killam Award in Medicine of the Canada Council (1985), the National Cancer Institute of Canada R.M. Taylor Medal (1992), the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2002), and many other accolades, including honorary degrees from a number of universities.

Isabel Bassett, Doctor of Laws LLD

[Isabel Bassett]
Isabel Bassett

Ceremony 5: Friday, May 25 at 4 pm.

Professionally, Isabel Bassett was Chair and CEO of TVOntario, MPP and Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation for the Ontario Government, and host and producer of award winning documentaries on CFTO TV, which focused on social issues such as sexual abuse, mental health, and teen gangs.

Now retired, Ms. Bassett is a facilitator using her know-how and connections to work for gender parity. She advocates to get young people more involved in politics and for more diversity on boards and in senior management positions. She is now adding her voice in support of the McMichael Gallery to awaken the public to Canada's little known treasure house of Canadian Art.

Indira Samarasekera, Doctor of Science DSc

[Indira Samarasekera]
Indira Samarasekera

Ceremony 12: Thursday, May 31 at 4 pm

Indira Samarasekera served as the twelfth President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta from 2005 to 2015. She also served as Vice-President (Research) at the University of British Columbia from 2000 to 2005. She is currently a Senior Advisor for Bennett Jones LLP and serves on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Magna International, and TransCanada. Dr. Samarasekera was appointed by the Prime Minister to serve as a Federal Member to the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments until 2017.

Dr. Samarasekera is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading metallurgical engineers for her ground-breaking work on process engineering of materials, especially steel processing. Dr. Samarasekera was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 for outstanding contributions to steel process engineering. In 2014, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in the US, the profession’s highest honour.

As a Hays Fulbright Scholar, she earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976 and a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1980. She has received honorary degrees from the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and from Western University in Canada, as well as Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland.

Valerie Tarasuk, Doctor of Science DSc

[Valerie Tarasuk]
Valerie Tarasuk

Ceremony 13: Friday, June 1 at 10 am

Valerie Tarasuk is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Tarasuk’s research includes Canadian food policy and population-level dietary assessment, but much of her career has focused on income-related problems of food access in Canada. She played a pivotal role in the implementation of food insecurity monitoring in Canada and has helped spearhead efforts to use monitoring data to inform programming and policy decisions. Dr. Tarasuk has led PROOF, an interdisciplinary research program investigating household insecurity in Canada, since 2011. In 2017, Dr. Tarasuk was honored by the Canadian Nutrition Society with the Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition.

John Baird, Doctor of Law LLD

[John Baird]
John Baird

Ceremony 14: Friday, June 1 at 2:30 pm

John Baird served as a senior cabinet minister in the Government of Canada. Mr. Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. In 2010, he was selected by MPs from all parties as Parliamentarian of the Year. He is currently a Senior Business Advisor with Bennett Jones LLP.

An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr. Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with Southeast Asian nations.

Mr. Baird holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s. He volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, the Prince's Charities, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative.

Hugh Segal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Hugh Segal]
Hugh Segal

Ceremony 15: Monday, June 4 at 10 am

Now the fifth elected Principal of Massey College and a strategic advisor at the law firm of Aird and Berlis, LLP, Hugh Segal has spent his career in such public service roles as the Associate Cabinet Secretary (Federal-Provincial Affairs) in Ontario and the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.  In Ontario, he was involved in the negotiations to patriate the Canadian constitution and create the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Mr. Segal chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism between 2005 and 2014.  He served as Canada's Special Envoy to the Commonwealth and a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group on reform and modernization, human rights, and rule of law.

A former President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal, a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Global Affairs, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Queen's School of Policy Studies, and the Smith School of Business at Queen's, Mr. Segal holds honorary doctorates from the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Ottawa.

Douglas Cardinal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Douglas Cardinal]
Douglas Cardinal

Ceremony 21: Wednesday, June 6 at 2:30 pm

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Douglas Cardinal's architectural studies at The University of British Columbia took him to Austin, Texas, where he achieved his architectural degree and found his passion for human rights initiatives. Mr. Cardinal has become a forerunner of philosophies of sustainability, green buildings, and ecologically designed community planning.

Mr. Cardinal has received many national and international awards, including 20 Honorary Doctorates, Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia, and an award from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for best sustainable village. He was also titled an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards that can be given to a Canadian, and he was awarded the declaration of “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” by the International Association of Architects.

Major program grant INSPIREs better health care

Queen's researcher receives $2 million for ongoing review of primary health care in Ontario.

Queen’s clinician-researcher Michael Green and his collaborator, Rick Glazier at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), have received more than $2 million from Ontario’s Health System Research Fund (HSRF) to support their ongoing study of health system challenges and equitable access to primary health care in the province.

The INSPIRE-PHC2 research program (Innovations Supporting Primary Care Through Research Phase 2) is one of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s HSRF Program Awards.

“We are very pleased to be receiving this support from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,” says Dr. Green, Head of the Queen’s Department of Family Medicine and the grant’s Nominated Principal Investigator. “This three-year funding will allow us to continue to provide up-to-date evidence on the state of primary health services in Ontario on an ongoing basis, and to provide strong, innovative recommendations to the province so gaps in service can be improved.”

The funded project is a continuation of an earlier three-year HSRF Program Award (2013-2016), helmed by Western University’s Moira Stewart. With this renewed funding, Drs. Green and Glazier will lead a team of more than 30 primary care researchers from across Ontario, with a focus on continued evaluation of innovations in the delivery of primary health care, and the successes and challenges faced by Ontario’s Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care.

“We meet frequently with stakeholders in the primary care sector to hone the targeting of our analysis and to identify needs,” says Dr. Green. “This approach allows us to continually address new challenges as they arise and make ongoing recommendations for service improvement. “

As a continual analysis of the primary care landscape, the program has already looked at things like the distribution and effectiveness of family health teams across Ontario. Geographic analysis revealed where in the province the gaps in access to family health teams were largest, allowing Dr. Green and his collaborators to advise the provincial government where they could prioritize for improved or increased service. This data helped inform the Government of Ontario when it was determining where to locate recently funded new family health teams.

“Dr. Green and his collaborators are making invaluable contributions to the future health of people across Ontario,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research). “On behalf of Queen’s, I want to congratulate him on securing new funding that will allow his team to continue this patient-oriented program that will continue to improve the province’s primary health care system.”

Visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s website for the announcement about this award and further details.

Learn more about the INSPIRE program here.

Scholarship helps promote human rights

Queen’s University program supports equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

A Queen’s University program focusing on disability-inclusive development is one of 20 university programs to receive funding from the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QES) program.

The funding will allow the International Centre for the Advancement of Community-Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) to support occupational therapy and physical therapy students to participate in internships abroad and international students in community-based rehabilitation programs to train at Queen’s.

“International fieldwork learning is something that the occupational therapy program at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy recognizes as a means to equip student occupational therapists with skills around cultural competence, enhanced problem-solving skills, and awareness of global health in context,” says Susanne Murphy, a lecturer in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

[Shirin Ataollahi-Eshqoor]
Shirin Ataollahi-Eshqoor makes jewellery with a member of the Pamaoja Tunaweza Boys and Girls Club. (Supplied photo)

Both domestic and international students’ activities will be linked to ICACBR’s ongoing community-based rehabilitation projects, which provide training and support to equalize opportunities and promote the human rights of people with disabilities.

“This specific internship program has been running since 2014 and is a continuation of funding from the QES program,” says program leader Heather Aldersey (Rehabilitation Therapy). “This funding enables sustainability and continuity of student efforts abroad – when one group of students leave, there is another group incoming to continue the projects the previous group started at the partner sites.”

With the grant received in 2014, the ICACBR supported 18 Queen’s occupational therapy students to hold clinical and community development placements in India and Tanzania. It also supported a Canadian master’s student to conduct research in Bangladesh, and enabled four community leaders (two from Ghana, one from Nigeria, and one from India) to complete PhDs in the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

In India, students worked to increase community resources for people with spinal cord injuries and improve knowledge about spinal cord injuries for clients and families. In Tanzania, they worked to increase employment skills for street youth as well as employment opportunities in the community.

“My dream of pursuing a PhD education at Queen’s University would not have been possible without QES support,” says PhD candidate Atul Jaiswal. “It provided me with an international experience in the rehabilitation science field and its current advancements in terms of practice and research. This learning enhanced my overall knowledge and gave me tools to conduct research that builds my academic career and is meaningful to the people in our society.”

Through this latest grant, the ICACBR will support 18 new occupational therapy and physical therapy internships abroad, as well as two new incoming PhD students.

“The funding that supported my occupational therapy placement in Moshi, Tanzania left me with a broader perspective of the world, a lot of personal growth, and an eagerness to give back to communities in need,” says Molly Flindall-Hanna, who spent several months in Tanzania working with youth in the Boys and Girls Club. “An important lesson for me was learning to face challenges proactively – the challenge many communities face in accessing resources, the challenge of systemic barriers, and the challenge of making a larger difference, one small step at a time.”

The QES program fosters a dynamic community of young global leaders that create lasting impacts at home and abroad. Through professional experiences, the program provides international education opportunities for discovery and inquiry.

For more information, visit the QES website.

World-class sex researcher joins Queen’s

Leading human sexuality and gender scholar, Sari van Anders, named Canada 150 Research Chair.

 

Renowned sex researcher Sari van Anders is joining Queen’s University as the Canada 150 Research (C150) Chair in Social Neuroendocrinology, Sexuality, and Gender/Sex, an appointment that grants her $2.45 million in research funding over the next seven years. She is one of only 26 C150 research chairs appointed nationwide by this competitive, one-time federal government initiative designed to recruit top-tier academic talent from around the world to conduct their work at Canadian post-secondary institutions.

“Being selected as a Canada 150 Research Chair is an incredible honour and a very personal one as a Canadian. I’m so excited to be able to come back to do my research, and to join Queen’s University to do so,” says Dr. van Anders. “Queen’s is such a vibrant university, and it’s a privilege to be able to join one of Canada’s leading research institutions.”

Dr. van Anders is a Torontonian who has been a professor in Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan for the past decade.

“It's truly remarkable that Canada highlighted research as one of its priorities for celebrating and nation-building,” she says. “To be included in that national celebration with a research program focusing on feminist and queer science as well as gender and sexuality is an honor that seems uniquely Canadian. Canada is an international leader on gender equity and sexual diversity and I'm excited to be a part of this.”

“To be included in that national celebration with a research program focusing on feminist and queer science as well as gender and sexuality is an honor that seems uniquely Canadian.”

Dr. van Anders’ own research involves an interdisciplinary study of human sexuality, gender, and sex. She has created sexual configurations theory  a new way to conceptualize, measure, and explore how people experience their genders, sexes, and sexualities. She also is a leader in social neuroendocrinology, which seeks to understand how social behaviours influence hormones in social context – such as how sexual behaviours, erotic thoughts, or gender socialization change testosterone levels in the body, for instance.

Dr. van Anders is also a sex researcher and explains: “I see my research contributing to our understandings of sexual phenomena like orgasm, fantasy, desire, and pornography – as well as larger related constructs like gender and sexual diversity. Some of this research connects to hormones like testosterone, and some of it is to understand sexuality on its own as important phenomena in people’s lives and our culture.”

The Canada 150 Research Chair funding will bolster understanding of these and many more areas of Dr. van Anders' interdisciplinary work, including how social norms, gender roles, and power dynamics affect the body’s physiology, and how laypeople and scientists can conceptualize gender and sexuality.

“Dr. van Anders is a world-class scholar whose work, including her role as editor of the esteemed Annual Review of Sex Research, has continually expanded and shaped our understanding of human sexuality,” says Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “Joining Queen’s as part of the prestigious C150 program, she will significantly bolster an already-impressive sex and gender research portfolio at the university.”

Dr. van Anders’ move to Queen’s will see her join other leading international sex researchers, including female sexuality expert Meredith Chivers and sexual function/dysfunction expert Caroline Pukall.

“As part of our academic evolution, Queen’s will see its faculty grow, diversify, and strengthen over the next five years,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf. “Dr. van Anders’ expertise will lend significantly to our institution’s research capabilities, and many aspects of her work exemplify the diversity, equity, and inclusion we value. The Canada 150 Research Chair project is certainly bringing the world’s brightest to our country.”

Dr. van Anders’ appointment as a Canada 150 Research Chair was made official at a ceremony in Ottawa on March 29, 2018. She assumes her new role at Queen’s University in the Department of Psychology with cross appointments to the Department of Gender Studies and the Centre for Neuroscience Studies in July 2018.

Provincial funding to strengthen Queen’s research teams

The Ontario government announces funding to support new Queen’s research teams and laboratory operations.

A total of 17 Queen’s researchers are receiving a combined $2,942,914 in funding from the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure programs and Early Researcher Awards – efforts designed to bolster the capacity of research teams and laboratories.

“Today’s funding announcement speaks not only to the ongoing research excellence demonstrated by our faculty, but also to the future potential their work holds in addressing exciting challenges in Ontario,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research), Queen’s University. “On behalf of the university, I would like to thank the Government of Ontario for continuing to support the growth of research capacity and innovation at Queen’s, and at institutions across the province.”

Three of the winning faculty members received Early Researcher Awards, providing up to $140,000 to support the creation and operation of new research teams. This funding is used to hire personnel to assist in research experiments, including undergraduates, graduate students, technicians, associates, and others.

Additionally, 14 researchers were awarded support through the ORF Small Infrastructure Fund which helps cover the cost of acquiring or renewing research equipment, specimens, computer software, and other operational technology for laboratories.

“Innovative research is essential for future economic growth and I am thrilled with the investments being made in projects in Kingston and across Ontario,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “The world-class research being conducted at Queen’s University is an immense source of pride for myself and our region and I look forward to seeing the results of this funding.”

ORF - Early Researcher Award recipients:

Frances Bonier (Biology) – $140,000
Carlos Escobedo (Chemical Engineering) -- $140,000
Madhuri Koti (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $140,000

ORF - Small Infrastructure Fund recipients:

Janet Dancey (Canadian Cancer Trials Group), David LeBrun (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Lois Shepherd (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) – $197,065
Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $125,000
Peter Davies (Biochemistry), John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $100,192
Amer Johri (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $120,000
Lysa Lomax (Medicine) – $139,914
Susan Lord (Film and Media), Dylan Robinson (Art History; Cultural Studies), Rosaleen Hill (Art History and Art Conservation) – $400,000
Jacqueline Monaghan (Biology) – $125,641
Lois Mulligan (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute), Andrew Craig (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Peter Greer (Pathology and Molecular Medicine)  – $124,040
Diane Orihel (Biology/School of Environmental Studies) – $167,602
Michael Rainbow (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $400,000
David Rival (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $76,520
R. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) – $316,000
Graeme Smith (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Amer Johri (Medicine) – $63,540
Zhongwen Yao (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $167,400

More information is available on the Ontario Research Fund – Early Researcher Awards and Research Infrastructure Funds websites.

Standardized Patient program extends beyond campus

Queen's-based program uses actors to enhance training in the community.

The Kingston community will soon benefit from an expanded Queen’s University Standardized Patient and Objective Standardized Clinical Examination (SP&OSCE) program – a unique educational experience that uses actors to enhance training.

A  is an actor who is trained to portray the historical, emotional, and physical characteristics of a real person for educational purposes. This is done through simulated interviews and examinations. Standardized patients are also trained to provide feedback so students can gain insight into their strengths as well as areas requiring improvement. 

[Standardized Patient program]
Standardized patients go through a rigourous training program.

Started in 1992, the SP&OSCE Program has recruited and deployed more than 100 standardized patients in clinical skills, training and examinations for Faculty of Health Science students. Actors can take part in a variety of scenarios ranging from routine to emergent situations.

“For the past 25 years, Queen’s has run a successful standardized patient program catering to the Faculty of Health Sciences,” says Rebecca Snowdon, Community Outreach Coordinator. “Now we want to offer our services outside of the university to provide realistic, hands-on training to other departments, teams and organizations. We can provide a valuable service to the Kingston area with our standardized patients.”

Simulated learning provides a safe, yet realistic environment in which professionals from all fields can practice their skills. As the SP&OSCE program expands to the broader community, companies and organizations can hire actors to work in faculty development, dispute resolution, business, law enforcement, customer service, pharmacy, and physiotherapy.

“Standardized patients can be used in a wide range of applications outside of medicine. Over the past year we’ve been receiving an influx of bookings and requests from organization outside the university, it seemed a natural time to expand.  We’re excited to share the benefits of simulated learning,” says Kate Slagle, the SP&OSCE Program Manager.

The launch is set to begin this month with an open house at the Queen’s School of Medicine Clinical Teaching Centre on Monday, March 26 from 1 to 4 pm.  At the open house visitors will learn more about what the program has to offer, take a tour of the facility, and hear testimonials from those who have benefited from the program.

For more information visit the website.

Agreement highlights college-university collaboration

Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences program will offer advanced standing to students from various college programs across the province.

A doctor uses a touch screen. (iStock)
A doctor uses a touch screen. (iStock)

Queen’s University has signed agreements with 10 Ontario colleges which will allow students enrolled in a one-year health-centred certificate program to gain advanced standing in a Queen’s online health degree.

New articulation agreements signed with colleges across Ontario, including Kingston’s St. Lawrence College, will allow graduates of the colleges’ Pre-Health Sciences advanced pathway who enroll in the Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences program to receive credit for roughly one semester of courses.

Colleges who have signed onto this agreement:
• Algonquin College, Ottawa
• Cambrian College, Sudbury
• Fleming College, Peterborough
• Georgian College, Barrie
• Humber College, Toronto
• Loyalist College, Belleville
• Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake
• Northern College, Timmins
• Sheridan College, Toronto
• St. Lawrence College, Kingston

“These agreements are an example of our commitment to collaboration and innovation within the higher education system,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are simplifying the process for qualified students who are seeking a high-quality education in the health field, while also delivering that education in a way that is flexible and forward-looking. We look forward to welcoming these students and helping them begin rewarding careers in healthcare.”

The agreements are effective immediately and are designed to pair the students’ introductory training and experience in health and healthcare with the necessary theoretical knowledge to pursue a variety of health professions or further studies at the university level.

“We are so pleased to work with Queen’s University to be able to offer this new pathway to our students,” says Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO of St. Lawrence College. “We know that many of our students are just beginning their post-secondary journey and opening up accessible ways for them to be able to achieve their educational goals is an important way we can help them on their career path.”

Post-secondary student mobility has been a priority of the Ontario government. In 2011, the government established the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to enhance student pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among Ontario’s 45 publicly assisted postsecondary institutions.

In response, Ontario universities and colleges have stepped up their efforts to develop transfer credit policies and practices, making it easier for students to choose their path through the postsecondary system. According to ONCAT, 55,000 students transfer institutions each year in Ontario.

Queen’s receives dozens of college graduates each year through academic pathways that have been established between individual faculties and colleges across Canada, including a collaborative degree in Music Theatre where students complete two years at St. Lawrence College and two years at Queen’s.

To learn more about the Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences degree, visit bhsc.queensu.ca. Applications for the Spring 2018 term are now open.

Fireflies light the way

Queen’s researcher develops biosensor that uses firefly enzyme to monitor cancer cell activity.

Queen’s University researcher Xiaolong Yang and his research team have developed a light emission-based biosensor that uses firefly luciferase (the enzyme that allows fireflies to light up) to monitor cancer cell activity and help find new ways to fight the spread of cancer.

Research has previously shown that changes in Hippo signaling proteins may be responsible for cancer development but there is currently no system to quantify how these proteins change in cancers. This breakthrough discovery could improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Xiaolong Yang (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) has developed a new biosensor that monitors cancer cell activity.

“Our labs have recently shown that aberrant changes in a group of proteins called the Hippo signaling pathway may be involved in cancer development,” says Dr. Yang. “In this study, by using the luciferase enzyme extracted from fireflies as a reporter, we have created a new biosensor tool that allows researchers to measure the activity of the Hippo signaling pathway protein in cancers in real-time.”

Dr. Yang adds that studies show that the Hippo signaling proteins are critical for cancer angiogenesis, a process by which tumours make blood vessels during their growth and spread.

“Almost all people have family members or friends who are diagnosed with or die of cancer,” says Dr. Yang. “Our new tool allows us to detect cancerous cells’ behavior in a new way and will help future development of therapeutic drugs for preventing the most devastating and drug-resistant cancers from growing or spreading.”

More than 90 per cent of cancer deaths are due to spreading of cancer cells to other organs of the body (metastasis) at late stages of cancer progression. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for treating metastatic cancers. Dr. Yang’s novel research findings provide new evidence that targeting the Hippo signaling protein is very effective in cutting the nutrient supply of cancer cells through inhibiting blood vessel formation. This discovery may provide new hope for treating metastatic cancer patients for successful cancer treatment in the future.

Moreover, since defects in angiogenesis also play important roles in many other diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, the new discovery may also provide a new way of fighting these diseases that affect the lives of millions of people around the world.

Working with Dr. Yang on the research were PhD candidates Taha Azad, Helena J. Janse van Rensburg, and Ben Yeung, and research associate Yawei Hao. The research was published in Nature Communications.

Queen’s researchers receive federal funding for novel, patient-oriented cancer treatments

Three Queens faculty members awarded three-year funding for multi-disciplinary health research.

Three Queen’s University scholars have been named as recipients of Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) grants – a funding program created by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to support stronger working partnerships among health care, engineering, and natural science researchers.

John Allingham, Associate Professor of Biomedical Molecular Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology, John Schreiner, Adjunct Professor of Oncology, and Gabor Fichtinger, Professor in the Queen’s School of Computing and Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair, will all receive funding to support multi-disciplinary cancer research projects.

“It is wonderful to see innovative, patient-oriented researchers at Queen’s recognized with grants that will help advance patient-oriented research through their work,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research). “On behalf of the university, I want to congratulate Drs. Allingham, Schreiner, and Fichtinger on their new funding, which speaks to the impact of integrated and collaborative approaches on scientific discovery and future therapies.”

Dr. Allingham, together with co-investigators P. Andrew Evans (Chemistry) and Andrew Craig (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute), will receive $497,500 over three years to fund the development and pre-clinical testing of new cancer fighting drugs inspired by natural products that disrupt a key protein required for cancer cells to spread. The spread of cancer cells within the body is the cause of 90 per cent of cancer-related deaths, and new therapies targeting this step will greatly improve survival rates for cancer patients.

Dr. Schreiner will receive $157,870 over three years to analyze and improve upon current radiation treatments for tumours by evaluating the effectiveness and shortcomings of the current methods to measure dose when the therapy uses a radiation source moving within the tumour, and by creating software that can measure and assess  the delivery of the treatment designed for each patient. He and his colleagues aim to be the first team to develop practical patient-specific dose delivery validation for this class of radiation treatments.

Dr. Fichtinger will receive $194,419 over three years for his work to improve the surgical outcome for breast cancer patients who undergo breast-conservation procedures. These operations involve efforts to remove early-stage cancer cells while preserving healthy parts of the breast. Occasionally some cancerous cells are missed and remain in the body, meaning patients often have to undergo repeat surgeries – increasing their risk of complications, psychological distress, and increased costs, treatment disruptions. Dr. Fichtinger’s team, including primary collaborators Jay Engel (Surgery) and John Rudan (Surgery), will develop a real-time electromagnetic navigation system capable of better detecting remaining cancer cells in effort to improve the procedure’s success rate, and eliminate the need for recurring surgical interventions.

As part of Queen’s University’s affiliation with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, the CHRP funding will play a key role in improving care and health outcomes for patients in the future.

The grants are part of $19.8 million in CHRP funding being awarded to researchers across Canada. The funding supports multi-disciplinary studies designed to discover and innovate in ways that will have a profound impact on Canadians’ health and environment, the economy, and communities.

For more information on the CHRP grants, please visit the website.

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